The prize was given to 35-year-old Navarro because the rules of the casino state that the rightful winner of a slots game is the individual who presses the button prior to the win. As Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner put it: ‘The person who pushes a slot machine button or pulls the arm is the person who wins the jackpot.’
In this case, the button-pusher was Navarro, so the casino had no choice but to give the cash to her, leading to a dispute between the pair. According to Flato, she used his gambling card to play the game and then left with the winnings. “I said, ‘Marina, what are you doing?’ and she gets up and walks out’,” Flavo commented, as quoted by WSVN. Navarro is also reported to have sent a text message to Flato several weeks after the win took place, posing the question, ‘Still hate me?’ Flato responded with, ‘How could you do that to me?’
Navarro has disputed Flato’s claim and said she paid for the winning spin. She has been quoted as telling the Miami Herald that she left the venue because ‘Jan, all of the sudden, went ballistic. He started screaming in front of everybody.” She also claims that she originally offered him some of the winnings but that she changed her mind about that when Flato started sending her text messages which she interpreted as being threatening.
As in all incidents that involve the word of one person against that of another, it is highly unlikely that we will ever know exactly how things unfolded. However, the fact remains that Flato missed out on a jackpot worth $100,000 just because he allowed someone else to push the button on the machine that he was playing. We are fairly certain that he won’t be making that mistake again, and we hope that his unhappy experience serves as a sober warning to other slots players around the world.